Search on for 3 abducted Sabah fishermen
TAWI-TAWI – Manila has ordered security forces to search for 3 crewmen of a trawler who were abdcuted last week by suspected Filipino gunmen in a daring cross-border raid into the rich Malaysian state of Sabah just off the southern Philippine province of Tawi-tawi.
It said 7 armed men on a green speedboat intercepted the boat near the island of Pompom off Semporna town and seized the trio, one of them its skipper. Four other crew members were left unharmed and reported the incident to their employer.
The fishing company immediately reported the abduction to the police, saying the incident occurred recently.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the latest abduction, but Sabah authorities said the gunmen fled towards Tawi-tawi, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines.
The incident happened just as the Philippine military continues its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan provinces, also in the autonomous region.
It was not immediately known whether the militant group was involved in the abduction, but the Abu Sayyaf is still holding over a dozen hostages that included Malaysian and Indonesian tugboat crewmen, a Norwegian man, a Japanese and Filipinos.